debbie millman

Friday, October 05, 2007

Coudal Presents Layer Tennis: Booty and the Beast

Layer Tennis

The Match

If you are going to be screwing around on Friday afternoons this Fall (and who isn’t?) make sure you’re screwing around somewhere with high-speed web access.

The new season of Coudal's Layer Tennis is under way. They are hosting a series of live design events every Friday afternoon. They originally called the game "Photoshop Tennis" but since there are a ton more tools that can be used alone and in combination to create things, they wanted to open the games up to millions of new possibilities. The season wouldn't have happened without the support of Adobe® Creative Suite® 3, the weapon of choice for creatives everywhere and Layer Tennis players alike.

How The Game Works
The matches will be played using lots of different applications, from Adobe® Photoshop® to Adobe® Flash®, but the basic idea is the same no matter what tools are in use. Two artists will swap a file back and forth in real-time, adding to and embellishing the work. Each artist gets fifteen minutes to complete a "volley" and then we post that to the site. A third participant, a writer, provides play-by-play commentary on the action, as it happens. The matches last for ten volleys and when it's complete, everyone with an opinion sounds off in the Forums and then they declare a winner.

All matches take place on Fridays, live at 2pm Chicago time, 3pm New York time.

This week I will be providing the Play by Play commentary!

This is what we posted for the Match Preview, which you can see in full regalia on the Coudal site.

While last week’s match featured a battle between contrasting styles—the cerebral vs. the visceral and the designer/programmer vs. designer/illustrator—consider this week’s line-up a battle of the beguiling and bewitching Brits.
Both Neil Duerden and Matthew Star Thomas are self-described illustrators who combine organic vector art with fairy tale photography. Both create balmy, breathy work that teeters between the real and the surreal. But that is where the similarities stop. Look a bit closer and you'll see where Thomas is naively dreamy and hallucinogenic, Duerden packs a power punch of provocation.

Perhaps this match will be more than a raunchy, rancorous volley to and fro, but rather a timeless test of wills. Either way, behold the empyrean challenge between the Master of Sublime and the Hot and Hungry Wolf and remember: one man's quest is another man's conquest.

Neil Duerden
The Man: Neil is a self confessed Mac monkey based in a rural miners' cottage 20 miles north of Manchester, UK. He creates work that combines elements from mixed media and photography with complex, interlacing vectors to create pieces for multi-national clients, all over the world. He's always on brief, hungry for commissions and looking for the next big thing.
The Mood: Manic

Mathew Star Thomas
The Man: Couscous Kid is the work of Mathew Star Thomas, an illustrator and designer based in Bath, UK. Impossible to pigeonhole, Couscous Kids' dream-like, innocent style compels his audience to dance eerily through life. At first glance, all is as it seems (with hints of sixties abandonment) but upon closer inspection, his work reveals 21st century humor and physical freedom hidden among the sublime and ridiculous forms and characters.
The Mood: Panic. (Psych) Limber. Yeah, that's right. Limber.

Join us at 3pm ET for the Layer Tennis Smack Down!


Anonymous Eling Lee said...


10/05/2007 09:21:00 PM  

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Location: new york city, United States

Debbie Millman has worked in the design business for over 25 years. She is President of the design division at Sterling Brands. She has been there for nearly 15 years and in that time she has worked on the redesign of global brands for Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s, Colgate, Nestle and Hasbro. Prior to Sterling, she was a Senior Vice President at Interbrand and a Marketing Director at Frankfurt Balkind. Debbie is President of the AIGA, the largest professional association for design. She is a contributing editor at Print Magazine, a design writer at and Brand New and Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2005, she began hosting the first weekly radio talk show about design on the Internet. The show is titled “Design Matters with Debbie Millman” and it is now featured on In addition to “Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design,” (HOW Books, 2009, she is the author of "How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer" (Allworth Press, 2007) and “The Essential Principles of Graphic Design” (Rotovision, 2008).

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